Saturday 3 May 2008

Unsu, Gojushihodai, Empi & Junro

For your interest here is my updated training regime. As made clear from the title of this post, kata is the seed for this month's practice. However, emphasis always remains on the "The Trinity of Karate". The inseparable cohesion of kihonwaza (foundational techniques), kata and kumite (fighting) to achieve 'Ichigeki Hisatsu'.


I am hardly doing standard kihon-keiko at present, hence the title of this post, but when I do (twice a week), I'm following the very simple routine described below. My typical repetitions remain the same as in previous months (50-100 for stationary techniques and 20-30 for ido-kihon techniques). I see no need to increase this as I'd prefer to increase snap whilst maintaining precise form. My current kihon training is still being dominated by individual techniques and sequences from Unsu kata.

Standard bi-weekly kihon-keiko: (1) Chudan choku zuki {heiko dachi}; (2) Chudan mae geri {heisoku dachi}; (3) Chudan gyaku zuki; (4) Chudan mae geri; (5) Sanbon ren zuki; (6) Mae geri kara chudan oi zuki; (7) Chudan mawashi geri; (8) Chudan ushiro geri; (9) Yoko keage {kiba dachi}; (10) Yoko kekomi {kiba dachi}; (11) Gedan barai kara chudan gyaku zuki; (12) Jodan age uke kara chudan gyaku zuki; (13) Chudan soto uke kara chudan gyaku zuki; (14) Chudan uchi uke kara chudan gyaku zuki; (15) Chudan shuto uke {kokutsu dachi} kara tate shihon nukite.

KATA: Unsu, Gojushihodai, Empi and Junro
(a) Shotokan-ryu kata: As stated before I've been focusing my attention on Unsu, Gojushihodai and Empi. Since returning to Unsu I've been remodeling it for my own fighting style. The way I'm performing Unsu now would probably not do very well in a tournament with world class competitors (but who knows, maybe people would find it refreshing?), however it is very functional and enjoyable for me to execute. Empi has been a study on kankyu (rhythm) and also basic foot/ankle training (continuing on with my refinement of 'technique and jiku-ashi co-ordination'). According to some very senior Japanese friends, presently Gojushihodai is my best kata on a good day, however I'm trying to gain more refined motor-control over some techniques. Gojushiho-dai is the kata I'm least working on this month, and when I do perform it, I just 'blast it out'. (b) Asai-ryu kata: I'm also reviewing each of the Junro kata (currently Junro-sandan). The main point is exact 'foundational techniques' and using no forced power ('classical JKA Shotokan form' enhanced by Asai Sensei's natural energy and fluidity). For me this is a never-ending task, so to be honest, my Junro training is currently 100% kihon-centric.

Kumite for me right now is concentrated on the bunkai/oyo (application) of Unsu kata. Essentially the cohesion of the Unsu kihon, kata practice and kumite application. As common/mundane as this may sound, this method has been an advanced means for me to 'physically study' "The Trinity of Karate" (as mentioned in my opening comments). From past experiences I've found this orthodox training method is the optimal means for me to refine my karate as bujutsu.

I sincerely wish you the very best in your karate keiko no matter where you are on Planet Earth. Stating the obvious, "karate begins and ends with training"; therefore the quality, intensity and frequency of ones training determines everything.




© André Bertel, Japan 2008

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